Saturday, September 7, 2019

Passage To Luclin? : EQII

As if I didn't already have enough to do, yesterday EverQuest II dropped the pre-event package for this year's as-yet unannounced expansion. Enigmatically entitled "Mythic Passage", there's a whole boatload of repeatable quests, all of which run until the yet-to-be finalized released date of the yet-to-be named expansion. Probably late November at a guess.

There are quests, and a collection, to suit all levels:
3 all level adventure repeatable quests (prelude only)
2 all level tradeskill repeatable quests (prelude only)
1 collection (prelude only)
There are also four permanent, one-time quests, for which you need to be Level 110. Those stay in the game after the expansion launches.
2 level 110 adventure signature quests (permanentcontent!)
2 level 110 tradeskill signature quests (permanent content!)
As far as I can tell, you have to get the repeatable quests from Teren's Grasp, the city in Kylong Plains, which is a Level 60-70 zone. Although the press release claims, corrctly, "There's something everyone can do, no matter how experienced!" you presumably do have to be able to get to the questgivers to make a start.

Yeah, yeah, I know. Just let me get on with it.

I wouldn't fancy the chances of anyone under level 55 or so making the run from the docks. If you're subbed, of course, it's not a problem. You can use the invaluable Instant Travel option (almost worth the price of the sub on its own), which will land you right on top of the questgivers, who are all standing round the Combine Spires where you arrive.

Free to Play accounts can buy an Instant Port to any destination for the very affordable price of 49SC per trip. It would certainly be worth it if you want to get there in one piece. It's also completely safe to fly there, so if you picked up any of the Event Mounts that fly at low levels, now's the time to use them.

There was some talk a while back about some of these mounts having been nerfed so as not to fly at very low levels but I haven't been able to confirm any details. I believe at least some of them still function as they always did. I have checked, however, to see whether Free to Play players can get the quests and yes they definitely can, the repeatables at least. I don't have a Max Level F2P character to check the permanent ones but I'm guessing that's also true.

The permanent quests are flagged up to any Level 110 as soon as they log in via in-game mail:
"Maximum experienced players receive a summons in the mail requesting their presence in The Duality's Vigilant Sanctum, once more. Inside, the adventuring level 110 players can speak with the Duality, and the tradeskill level 110 players can speak with Head Scholar Nabihan to learn how they might lend their skills to the situation.
I've taken the first two permanent quests. They presumably each have a follow-on on completion to make four. I haven't started either as yet. The Adventure quest is flagged for group play which is ominous. The reward is a major upgrade to my pretty good max level solo gear so I imagine it is a genuine Heroic. Won't be soloing that, or at least not until after the expansion gives me another ten levels and invalidates all the gear I'm wearing anyway!

Want! Want!
Tradeskill quests are always soloable, though, and that also has a solid upgrade reward, so I'll be doing that at some point. With my WoW Classic refresher course in how to talk to people and get groups I might end up doing all of the four quests. They certainly look to be very well worth it.

I did make an attempt to start a couple of the repeatables. I thought it would be easy. One asked me to kill some at-level mobs that the text suggested would spawn around Combine Spires. The other wanted me to pick up something that would spawn in the same sort of place.

EQII often uses this scenario for all-level quests because the spires are easy for anyone to get to. I'm very familiar with how it works. No specific spires were mentioned but in a quick search of three or four zones I couldn't find anything.

As far as I can ascertain,  none of this content was on the Test Server before it went Live. It's from the invaluable work of the dedicated Test community that all the pre-Live research that goes into the excellent guides and walkthroughs on the Wiki and other sites derive.

As I commented on Everwake's post on the topic yesterday, in some games I use no outside aids at all whereas in others I rely on them explicitly. EQII has been a walkthrough game for me for years. Many of the quests are intricate and fiddly and require searching large areas with little information, looking for very small objects that aren't easy to see. You'd go insane trying to do that every time so I let the hivemind do the grunt work.

I didn't think I'd need a guide for these but apparently I do. Nothing's up yet so I'll have to wait a while. I'd like to do a few of the repeatables because the items for sale at the vendor (the quests, as usual, reward a special event currency accepted by a specific NPC) are rather nice. As always, they are all decorating or appearance items. I particularly like the look of some of the pets and the Elemental outfits. The flying disc is good, too. I do like my particle effects.

Yes, but are we playing them Home or Away?
Perhaps the most interesting - indeed exciting - aspect of the Mythic Passage pre-events doesn't come from any of the rewards or the quests themselves. It's in the subtext. And, indeed, the text.

Most of the questgivers talk about races and creatures associated most strongly with the once-shattered, now restored, moon, Luclin. The last expansion, Chaos Descending, ended (spoiler alert!) with the defeat of Najena. Her parting words were a warning that by defeating her we'd opened Norrath up to a greater threat from the ancient race of snake-people, the Shissar.

The Shissar came from Kunark originally but were driven from Norrath by The Greenmist. They retreated to their last citadel, The Shissar Temple in Luclin's airless zone, The Grey. The lore pertaining to all of this has underpinned the last five expansions. We've seen two races appear on Norrath that were previously only known on Luclin, The Akheva and The Grimlings.

The lore in the Everquest franchise is deep, layered and rich. It's also elusive and veiled. Of all the MMORPGs I've played, the EQ games seem the happiest to play an exceedingly long game, with timelines that stretch not just across years but decades. Many EQII players have been hoping for (or dreading) a return to Luclin ever since the moon was destroyed off camera before launch.

This time I think it might actually happen. I really, really hope it does!


  1. I think I'd better wait for guides in future, in a rush on Friday evening I tried to crack on with the adventuring quest - but I wandered around for at least 30 mins going in and out of Chelsith with no idea how to get to Deep Chelsith. Yes, I didn't know about or had missed any reference to talking to someone on the dock so I flew straight off to the entrance to the dungeon marked on the map (under the water).

    I also had totally missed the quest being marked for groups, which would explain why it was taking me so long to do any of it molo. A walkthrough game indeed!

    1. I almost never do Instances without a walkthrough up. All those clever tricks the bosses do that I would never spot until I've died a few times. Not to mention how to get to where you need to be. It's partly modern game design but, really, EQII was always this way, even from the start.


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